Corruption charges haunt Trinamool

Corruption charges haunt Trinamool

Corruption charges haunt Trinamool

Trinamool Congress will face the West Bengal polls haunted by the contentious issue of corruption, sufficiently prodded by the Opposition’s campaign focus on “Saradha and Narada”. 

The first phase of polling will take place on April 4 .

Within 18 months of coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had declared all her goals for the region as achieved. New roads in place of dirt roads snaked through the smallest of villages. Long-standing problem of rural electrification has been taken care of and drinking water crisis has been mitigated to some extent. Yet, the Trinamool leadership seems somewhat shaky over its chances.

Since 2011, Mamata has put up a brave front, claiming to have taken care of development in impoverished districts like Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.

Welfare measures like rice at Rs 2 a kilo, laying foundation of colleges, super speciality hospitals, besides distributing largesse in the form of bicycles and educational grants to girl students have somewhat changed the face of rural Bengal. What could mar Mamata’s chances is the complex arithmetic of tribal and Dalit aspirations. Constant campaign by the combined forces of the Left-Congress on one hand and BJP on the other, on the issue of graft could also leave a mark.

Seemingly an urban issue, a controversial footage showing top Trinamool leaders receiving illegal cash payments, has reached villages.

If the Left-Congress combine hammered the issue through poll graphiti, BJP went a step further, distributing DVDs of the footage to grassroots workers, who are screening these at street corners and markets. If that is not all, at Jungle Mahal, Mamata’s strongest contender will be Jharkhand Party (Naren), an outfit with significant sphere of influence over the region’s tribal populace. The outfit could cause serious damage on April 11, set aside for Jungle Mahal, owing to security concerns due to its Maoist-affected area tag.

Being a region with several ‘sensitive’ booths, the Election Commission has decided on aerial surveillance with two helicopters making rounds during polling hours. As per schedule, 49 Assembly constituencies across West Midnapore, Burdwan, Bankura and Puruliawill go to polls on these two days. Ground reports suggest what initially seemed like a cakewalk for Trinamool, might not be so with doubts having crept in over the last fortnight, both within the ruling party and the electorate. For now, Mamata will have to wait till results are out on May 19 and allay whatever apprehensions she might have over anti-incumbency and talks of graft overshadowing her plank of overall development. 

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